The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Women’s Basketball comes from behind to beat Lehigh, Loyola Maryland

Women’s basketball poses after their nail-biter home victory last weekend. (Photo by Rick Smith for GoLeopards)

The women’s basketball team (6-12 overall, 3-5 Patriot League) topped Lehigh (9-10 overall, 5-3 Patriot League) 63-60 in thrilling fashion this past Saturday.

The Leopards started off slow, as the Mountain Hawks scored seven points before the Leopards made their first basket. 

After trailing 24-13 in the first quarter, the Leopards stormed back, outscoring Lehigh 22-8 in the second quarter to take a three-point lead at the half. Junior guard Abby Antognoli and sophomore guard Halee Smith combined for three steals in the quarter. 

“I was thinking that this was definitely not how we usually perform,” Antognoli said of the Leopards’ slow start. “We talk a lot about when teams go on runs and having to weather the storm and keep our heads up,” she said. 

Junior guard Makayla Andrews also said the team focused on regrouping for a stronger defensive effort in the second quarter.  

“We also needed to focus in on our offense, run through our plays and get better shots because we were taking too many quick shots in the first quarter,” she said. 

Halfway through the third quarter, the game was knotted at 43 before Lehigh went on a small run to end the quarter. Lafayette battled back in the fourth and the teams traded buckets down the stretch. Lehigh cut Lafayette’s lead to one, 61-6o, with only five seconds left. Down the stretch, Andrews got fouled and made both of her free throws and Lehigh could not make it up the court in time to try for a final shot before the final buzzer sounded.

The Leopards tallied 11 points on fast breaks in the game, while Lehigh had zero. They also scored seven more points off of turnovers than Lehigh (19-12). 

Andrews, who scored 21 points, and Antognoli, who had a career-high eight assists along with her 16 points and four steals, had standout performances. Antongoli also set a career-high in minutes, playing all but one of them in the Leopards’ victory.

Both players stressed the importance of playing as a team.“I have to play a lot of minutes, and I realized that my role is to be a leader even though I am an underclassman, and I think I’m doing a good job in that role. I still could do even better, but I’m really trying to use my voice more this year as opposed to last year,” Antognoli said. “It’s difficult leading as an underclassman, but I feel like my team realizes that that’s what we need to do because we are inexperienced.” 

This win was particularly gratifying after last year’s loss to Lehigh 76-52 at home last year.

“We deserved to win on our home court and we deserved to give them an ‘L’. So it was fun, exciting and I loved it,” Andrews said.

“It’s a big rivalry game, but also we’ve been on a little win streak within the conference. It definitely was considered an upset but we knew that we could compete with Lehigh and can compete with every team in our league when we play together in a unit, which we did,” Antognoli said. 

The Leopards then hit the road to play Loyola Maryland on Wednesday. They once again started slowly: Lafayette did not lead at any point during the first half and went into halftime down by eight, 23-15. For a large part of the third quarter, both teams continued to struggle on offense.

The fourth quarter is when the Leopards finally switched into gear by ripping off a 16-1 run, completely flipping the trajectory of the game and putting the Maroon and White in the driver’s seat. Despite a last-ditch effort to regain the lead by Loyola, Lafayette held on to win 39-35. This was the Leopards’ lowest-scoring effort of the year but their defense stepped up and they escaped the Baltimore team with their fourth win in five games.

“Sometimes, when other teams go on a run, teams can break down and people start playing individually and trying to play ‘hero ball,’ but I think we did a good job sticking together, sticking to our game plan and putting in a lot of effort,” Andrews said. 

The Leopards will tip off next at 2 p.m. tomorrow when they host Colgate for their National Girls and Women in Sports Game.

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About the Contributor
Grace Sanborn
Grace Sanborn, Assistant Sports Editor
Thinks hitting a ball with a stick outside for four hours is fun.

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